McClaughry: Costs of wind and solar

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In a paper for Energy Policy in 2013, German economist Leon Hirth estimated, (1) when wind power generation is 30% of the electricity mix on a grid, its value decreases by 40%; and (2) when solar power generation is 15% of the electricity mix on a grid, its value decreases by 50%.

By John McClaughry

Longtime environmentalist Michael Shellenberger said in an Oct. 1 lecture in Sydney, Australia that one of the “most misleading ways wind and solar sales people sell their technology” is to claim the electricity produced by wind and solar is cheaper.”

“However, the paradox about wind and solar energy is when deployed at scale, they actually make electricity production more expensive.”

“There are basically two reasons,” he said. “It requires more machines, more backup power generators, more transmission systems, and more people to manage the chaos of an electrical grid with a large amount of unreliable weather-dependent, variable, intermittent energy.”

Shellenberger said “solar and wind produce too much energy when you don’t need them, and not enough energy when you do, and both of those impose costs on the electrical grid.” He pointed to a prediction by German economist Leon Hirth, that the economic value of wind and solar [electricity] significantly decreases as they take up a larger percentage of the electricity mix on a grid.”

In a paper for Energy Policy in 2013, Hirth estimated, when (1) wind power generation is 30% of the electricity mix on a grid, its value decreases by 40%; and (2) solar power generation is 15% of the electricity mix on a grid, its value decreases by 50%.

He noted that it would cost the US $750 billion dollars to create enough storage to back up the entire country’s electricity grid for just four hours.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Public domain
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3 thoughts on “McClaughry: Costs of wind and solar

  1. Wind turbines are not only detrimental to our bird population they also are not cost
    effective. While being touted to have a 30 yr lifespan and a break even cost per output
    of 20-25 yrs the bird choppers out west are barely making it to 14 yrs. This is in stark
    contrast to a nuke or gas/coal which will easily go 50 yrs or more.. Like all leftist ideas
    they are inefficient, dangerous, costly, and makes no sense… solar isn’t much better
    especially in the northern cloudy climates..

    • the solution is to register all the ‘wokes’, install smart meters where the live and work, and they only get power when the wind blows or the sun shines. — That will educate them. The hard way, but eventually the idiots will get it.

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